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African Hunting

My African Hunt

African plains game in the area is abundant

Rob asked why we Americans are so keen on taxidermy. Well, you know it is fun to share your adventures with your family and make your friends jealous. Ok, two friends well, one is related, yes, well, my one friend jealous. You know who you are, I hope.

We were very fortunate to see many exotic animals, including a puff adder -on the road- Giraffe, Impala, springbuck, tortoise Zebra, wildebeest, baboons, and mongoose.

By the way, no malaria, dengue, or tsetse flies to fight, so vaccination is unnecessary. TB and HIV do run rampant in specific native communities, but that is a whole other matter.

I should like to point out that seeing these animals “in the wild” is much more interesting than any zoo and undoubtedly better for the animals as well.

The animals were, in fact, residents of the “farms” we hunted: some transients and some more permanent depending on the particular traits of the animals in question.

Naturally, they compete with the farmer’s livestock but are tolerated and protected for the value of the hunter’s store in them. It is more likely a tasty sheep is poached than any exotic plains game animal living in the East Cape.

Ownership of the land is mostly private, so most of the fences were quite familiar, four-string barbed wire, with some for cattle and others for the many Merino sheep on the place. Few were over 4 feet tall, and none could keep any of the wild animals we saw.  Going over barbed wire took me back…

Reminded me of New Mexico

Reminded me of any high-mountain plain and made me homesick for New Mexico, but the seemingly endless termite mounds on a good part of the dry rolling plains. Think of an anthill some 2 feet tall and hard as a baseball. At least half are dug out by nocturnal visit of the local aardvark (Afrikaans for anteater.) A termite hill can make an excellent rifle rest, though I missed the first shot at my waterbuck with a perfect rest on such a construct. The closer you get to the ground, the more likely you will hit twigs, grass, and such. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. And Speaking of sticks, you will need to practice using them. I had great difficulty and frankly might have shot better off-hand, free hand in Africa, following many years of shooting silhouette.

Now the ranch/farm next door did have the 10′ electrified monster fence you always hear about and over-grazed fields from lack of proper management. It seems a Texan owns it. Go figure.

African plains game in the area is abundant, and most are available to any hunter willing to pay for the privilege. Each animal has a price according to supply and demand. Generally, the bigger they are, the more they cost. South African hunting packages offer a wide variety of trophies. You will see the amount of work involved as we go along.

Impala ram scratching its self.